Mom & Me portraits

I’ve been photographing Mom and Me portraits for years now… but this year it means a little more than usual.  This past December my mother passed – we didn’t have much time from her cancer diagnosis to her passing … it was three short months and she lived over a thousand miles away so I made time to take a few last trips to spend time with her.

You don’t need to have studio portraits with me of course…. just take photos with those you love and spend time with them as much as you possibly can.  These are the last memories I have with my mother and I have them…. and they weren’t professional, they were selfies…the important thing is that I have them to remember the last few moments/days that I had with her.

April 17th, & April 23rd, 2016 we will be holding Mom & Me portrait sessions an my Denver studio.  There will be a limited amount of sessions available – and the cost for the portrait session will be $100 donation to a cancer charity of your choice.  Simply donate to the charity from our computer on the day of your session, or bring in a receipt of your donation on the day of your session.  If you would prefer us to choose, please make checks payable to Fototails Photography for $100 or more and we will be forwarding these proceeds to a cancer charity to be announced at the session.

Please e-mail jennyb@fototails.com to book your Mom & me portrait session!

The Holiday Cookie

Depending on your country and culture your cookie traditon might slightly vary from your neighbors down the street. Thanks to my five year old son’s class taking a journey into other culture’s holiday traditons we continued this adventure at home. Every year, just a couple days before Christmas, all the children are brought together to make cookies. My son and I started to wonder what types of cookies are made in other countries across the globe (also part of his current curriculum…the globe)! We discovered in Sweden it’s the Papparkakor, in Germany it’s Spritz and Lebkuchen, the Norwegians make Krumkake, the Jewish enjoy Hamantaschen and Rugelach and in Africa they make a Benne Wafer.

Now baking cookies for the holidays really began to catch on across Europe around the 1500’s but it would be another 100 years before the concept came to America with the Dutch in the early 1600’s. Step foward another 200+ years and the cookie world in America exploded with new designs thanks to changes in importation laws and inexspensive cookie cutters from Germany! I have to wonder what shapes and designs were cut by HAND prior to the cookie cutter!!

One thing is for sure the holiday cookie tradition has brought pople together for centuries and continues today. Families and friends gather for hours to bake, package and deliver holiday treats made with love! I enjoy every year the unexpected ring at the door bell and opening my front door to the faces of a smiling family out delivering holiday treats. I love seeing and tasting what someone elses family tradition or cultural background has brought to my Yule Season.

We’ll be sharing with you some of our favorite holiday cookie recipes over the next two weeks. We would like you to share with us your families holiday traditions and include a photo. We’ll pick our favorite on January 1st and you’ll receive a free portrait session.

Thank you for sharing and Happy Holidays.

 

Honey Tahini Cookies

Fototails

These Tahini cookies with honey, almond meal and sesame seeds are amazing!  The kids had a blast – and although they look a little crazy in the photos, I did make some that looked perfectly round… but the kids were so proud that they made these – I promised I would only post photos of what they made!  Image

HONEY TAHINI COOKIES

1 1/2 cups almond meal

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4  cup plain toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup of black sesame seeds

Yields about 20 cookies
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Preheat oven to 350F & Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine almond meal, salt and baking soda.
In another bowl, stir together honey, tahini and vanilla extract until combined.

Add the almond meal mixture to the honey tahini mixture and stir until well incorporated.

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My favorite “Where the wild things are” quotes

Where the Wild Things are is one of my favorite books and contains some of my favorite quotes of all time…..

“Let the wild rumpus start.”

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Inside all of us is Hope.

Inside all of us is Fear.

Inside all of us is Adventure.

Inside all of us is… A Wild Thing.

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I’LL EAT YOU UP

I LOVE YOU SO

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“I have a sadness shield that keeps out all the

sadness, and it’s big enough for all of us.”

~ WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Inside all of us is adventure

Jeanine Thurston Photography ~copyright 2014

5 Things to AVOID REGRET.

1. Create your path.  Be who you are and don’t let another create your path for you.  One of your greatest joys is the journey of finding yourself in life.  Don’t be afraid of judgement from others, and don’t fear your heart and opening it to others.  Walk your own path and know it is ok if people disagree with you.

2. Be giving.  Live your life by doing good for others.  Set selfishness aside and toss your ego in the trash.  Think about times when people made you smile, gave to you for no reason and pass a little of that along every day.  It is freeing, motivating and it makes your heart happy in the process.  Giving gives back 10 fold and feeds your sole.

3. Manage don’t micromanage.  Take a deep breath and let things go.  Make a conscious decision at some point in managing a project to let things play out.  Let go of your anxiety – walk away – and know that you don’t need to have control and know about every single detail.  You can always re-evaluate small flaws in your plan and make it better next time – and surround yourself with people who allow you to let go more easily.

4. Own yourself.  Flaws are in your mind – they are a product of your own creation – they are not real.  You’re skin, your weight, your shape, your scars, your tragedies, the way you think are all a part of you.  Just because you have been brainwashed that there is such a thing as beautiful or ugly doesn’t make it true.  Nobody is perfect and time spent thinking you are somehow less than perfect is wasting precious time that you could be using to enjoy yourself and all the people and things that you love.

5. Dreams are real.  You owe it to yourself to dream and dream often… dream every day, dream as BIG as you can and go with it.  Don’t ever feel that dreams and daydreams are a waste of time… UNLESS you never act towards them.  That’s right… they are only a waste of time if you don’t get up and DO something about them.  Pick one of your dreams and put your energy towards it today… put it in motion!  Every amazing idea, every amazing happening started with a dream… and happened because someone got up and decided that they would TRY to make it possible.

So get up today.  Be proud of who you are – and own all of your imaginary flaws that make you a beautiful and perfect individual.  Give someone a smile, a helpful hand, a meaningful compliment or an unexpected gift.  Start living one of your dreams.  And… let go of a handful of the “little” things that you are holding onto way to tight.  Avoid regrets and live your life in motion.

Photograper: Jeanine Thurston

What wedding photographer is right for you?

How do you know which photographer is right for you?  Photography is a major part of catching the feeling, and details of your wedding day.  Whoever you choose – you need to do your homework!

Don’t become overwhelmed.  Create a short-list of your top 3 or 4 photographers based on friends referrals, websites you like or tips you’ve received from other sources – but don’t stop there.

Questions to ask the photographer:

BASIC QUESTIONS

1. Do you have my date available?

2. How far in advance do I need to book with you?

3. How long have you been in business? Are you a full-time professional or is this a side job/hobby?

4. Are you a member of any professional photography associations?  (This can help determine if they are active in new styles and continually improving their skills)

5. How many weddings have you shot? Have you done many that were similar to mine in size and style?  Do you have the experience and equipment to shoot in any lighting situation? Note: Not all wedding photographers can shoot in ALL lighting situations.  On a wedding day – things can change in an instant.  Find a professional that has experience and can provide samples of different lighting situations so that you can feel confident that your wedding day will look amazing regardless of the weather or light available.

6. How would you describe your photography style (e.g. traditional, photojournalistic, creative)? NOTE: The answer should help you determine whether this is a photographer who blends into the background and shoots what happens naturally, or creates a more visible presence by taking charge and guiding shots.  Remember that while you may like the fly on the wall shots… things can get out of hand and most people need a photographer that can get those candid moments while still having the ability to rally groups together in somewhat “crazy” situations.  It’s not as easy as one may think.

7. Do you have a portfolio I can review? Can I view FULL weddings instead of just highlight images?

8. Do you shoot in color and black & white? Both?

9. Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like?

10. What information do I need to provide you before the wedding day?

11. May I have references? NOTE: A professional photographer will NOT hesitate to provide this.

THE WEDDING

12. Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding? If so, will you have any assistants with you on that day? If not, who will be taking the pictures and can I meet them before my wedding?

13. Do you have backup equipment? What about a backup plan if you (or my scheduled photographer) are unable to shoot my wedding for some reason?

14. If my wedding site is out of your area, do you charge a travel fee and what does that cover?

15. Are you photographing other events on the same day as mine? Note: This is VERY important.  Regardless of experience, photographing weddings is exhausting work and you want a photographer that is concentrating on YOU and YOUR wedding – not worried about rushing off to another event or exhausted from photographing one prior to yours.  This is an area that I would say demand that you are THE main event of their day.

16. How will you (and your assistants) be dressed? NOTE: The photographer and his/her staff should look professional and fit in with the style of your event – but also dressed to “hustle, climb hills & stairs…. etc.”

17. Is it okay if other people take photos while you’re taking photos?

18. Have you ever worked at my wedding site before? If not, will you check it out in advance? NOTE: Photographers who familiarize themselves with a location ahead of time will be prepared for any lighting issues and know possible restrictions, and will know how best to incorporate the site’s elements into the images.

19. What time will you arrive at the site and for how long will you shoot?

20. If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge? Do you give us notice before it is time for you to leave or do you just exit at the end time?

PRODUCTS AND “PACKAGE/COLLECTION” DETAILS

21. What packages do you offer?

22. Can I customize a package based on my needs?

23. Do you include engagement photos in your packages?

24. Do you provide retouching, color adjustment or other corrective services?

25. How long after the wedding will I be able to view images? Will they be viewable online or in proof format?

26. How long after I order my photos/album will I get them?

27. Will digital files be included in our package, is that an additional charge, and what printing rights would we have if we received the digital files as part of our package? NOTE: Personal printing rights for digital files are limited and vary from photographer to photographer.  Just know what you are comparing when asking the same questions to different photographers.

 

CONTRACTS & POLICIES

 28. When and how do we sign a contract? NOTE: Don’t book a photographer—or any vendor—who won’t provide a contract.

29. How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plans?

 30. What is your refund/cancellation policy?

 31. Do you have liability insurance? 

THE PERSONALITY FACTOR

Although this is the last factor to consider when you hire your wedding photographer – it is also THE thing that should be used when it comes to your final choice.  Once you have compared apples to apples and you know that you have narrowed it down to 2 of the top people after all these questions have been answered.  Which photographer are you the most comfortable with?  Which do you feel will be the best with your family and friends?  Always remember proven technical excellence first, and then pick the photographer that will give you an amazing experience.

THE IMAGES YOU LIKE

So important, yet so many couples pass over this very important thing in planning.  You’ve poured over thousands of images and know what you would like your wedding photography to look like.  Plan your wedding start time with your photographer based on the images you like the best.  While a true professional can photograph in any lighting situation – NO photographer can make a natural light image in a dark church, they can’t do a sunset image if the sun sets during your ceremony and it is pitch dark before photos start… and I could go on and on.  Know pros and cons to having your images done before or after your wedding.  While no photographer should make you do your images prior to your wedding ceremony (although many of us may like to) – if it is important for you not to see each other prior to the ceremony THAT IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE!  It is your wedding day – so be happy in choosing what is important to you.  A professional photographer;however, can take what is important to you and work with you on a timeline that will accommodate what you find important and what you want your images to look like.

ON THE WEDDING DAY.

Relax.  You’ve asked the tough questions, you have a great photographer – and now enjoy your day and get excited that you will get some great images!

Enjoy galleries of wedding images at Fototails Photography (photography by Jeanine Thurston)

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In memory of my grandpa

As I got the call this morning that my grandpa had passed, you can’t help but remember all the little things.  I remember stories being told to me about him (good and bad), and this is what I have – and it could be truth or not – as much of this is from when I was a young kid; so who knows if what I remember is fact – but it’s how I remember it.

He use to make my grandma cringe….  yeah – every time he would walk past her it would poke her or grab her neck and she would say “knock it off dicky.”  He was fairly quiet until he wasn’t.  He had a sawmill/lumberyard and we (meaning the cousins) would play and climb the logs and play around the saws and search for the stray cats hiding in the logs until he would come out and holler at the top of his lungs – getottahere!  I think he did it less because he didn’t want us playing for safety reasons, and more because he loved to see us all run and scatter for fear of getting in trouble because we weren’t suppose to play in there.

Every dinner that we ever had at my grandparents house was followed by grandpa going to the recliner and taking a nap and taking over the TV with western movies.  We would sometimes pester him until he took a swat at us…. and parents would be shushing us or telling us to play outside; but more than once I saw him grinning… because he took pleasure in watching us squirm and hustle.

He had a pig named BOOF BOOF.  It was a 200 year old pig… well not really… he butchered it every year and got a new one, but it always had the same name every year and every get together it was an event to go see how freakishly huge the pig was.  Then he would pick one or two of us and drape us over the gate telling us he was feeding us to the pig… until we squealed, and he got a huge grin on his face.  He would grunt at us more than he would speak, but you knew when he was happy or amused.

He was a little evil (ok maybe more than a little), as he got a huge kick out of making the dogs scream… by pulling their ears until they yelped.  I never said he was perfectly nice – again – he was most pleased by getting a reaction out of others, human or animal.  He had a couple geese later than were quite mean… possibly because he hassled them – and yet for some reason no matter how much torture went on, we all loved him just the same – even the animals.

He would take us on tractor rides – or whatever fun farm thing he had to ride around in.  Would go pick blackberries occasionally, and when I was really young he would help me find walking stick bugs around their house.

He was a logger all his life that was allergic to bees…. how that all works I don’t know – but obviously he lived to be 89 so either someone was telling me a fib or he was just damn lucky. He couldn’t read – and nobody really spoke of it, but when he got cards or there was something to read he would have my grandma or one of his kids, or us read things to him.  He ran a successful business despite this shortcoming (or because my grandmother ran the show really).  He built log cabins, and when he was in the hospital years ago with gall stones passing – I bought him a stack of timber house magazines… and sat with him for a couple hours… we didn’t speak more than two words.  All he did was grunt smile and say neeno, yet you could tell he was happy I was there.

He loved his slot machines – and many times father’s day was spent at a casino.  Yes… all of us, even the kids… (not so regulated back then).   My grandma passed some years prior to this – but both of them were awesome and playing cards and dice was just something you learned young in my family.  If you served him he loved it – make him breakfast or dinner and you got to the top of his list.  He loved his money so much that he buried it all in jars…. and my grandma had a map of the treasure… to my knowledge he had dug it all up and spent it all after my grandma passed… but good for him!

Mance got the brunt of my grandpa’s sass… because my grandpa loved to trick people into taking a shot of 151 Bacardi.  They felt compelled with his peer pressure to do a shot with him; unknowing that it wasn’t just a normal shot and he would giggle with pride like a child when they did the shot and then saw the burn of it on their faces.

He was not always nice to others that I love dearly, personally I think that my grandma held him together and made him a better man and once she passed he had lost the glue in his life.  But I prefer to remember that I have a lot of amazing memories of him.

I got his sass, and his stubborn nature – I’ll take that.  My last grandparent has passed.

GrandpaQ

MARCH-MAY 2015 CALENDAR

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MARCH IS MULTIPLES MONTH

$25 for a one hour session for any multiples… newborns, babies, children, teens, or adults.  (twins, triplets or more)

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APRIL IS MOMMY & ME PORTRAIT MONTH

I love my kids, and there is nothing better than to have some warm fuzzy, or fun portraits with your children.  Mother’s day is just around the corner – so this gives you time to drop hints, do a session and get something special for mother’s day too.  It’s ok to help the people out in your life and tell them you want some great portraits with your kids as a gift! $25 mommy & me sessions for the entire month of April 2015.

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MAY IS FIELD PORTRAITS MONTH

Summer is sneaking up and keep your eyes peeled… we will be listing locations around Denver and in the mountains to get some family portraits or children’s portraits.

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