Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Month Blog-iversary!

As of November 1, 2008, my imagesbyjen blog is one month old! Thanks to my handy statistics counter, I'm able to see that I've had 337 new visitors in my first month (excluding myself, I swear!). Thank you for visiting, and thanks also for your encouraging words!

Here's what I'm able to see...

Hopefully, these numbers will keep getting bigger!
Have a great day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

McGee Family Pix

Here is the McGee family. We were celebrating their new house and autumn! Little Brandon has had a lot of practice with posing, as Emily likes to dabble in photography. He's a natural, don't ya think?
See more photos here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekend Fun

I've got a full weekend coming up... Two sessions of family portraits for some church family with the Most Stinkin' Adorable kids you've ever seen (and the parents are pretty cute too..)! I CANNOT wait for those! I think they mentioned that they may use the photos on their yearly Christmas cards, so for those of you from church, keep an eye out... Also on the agenda are some engagement pix for some newly-engaged friends who are needing a photo for their save-the-date card, with a full-blown engagement session coming soon. The weatherman says it's going to be a great weekend in the 60s with sun, so I'm pumped!

I did drive around last night after work for about an hour looking for some fall trees that have turned, but realized here in this area, the trees still haven't fully hit their peaks yet. I also realized that with it getting dark so early, it's hard to find fall trees when it's pitch black outside at 6:30. Oh well. Next time I'll take my night vision goggles...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Life as a (Wannabe) Hand Model

I've secretly always wanted to be a hand model. yup. I have what you call "piano hands"... long fingers with a wide reach... that just so happen to be good for playing piano AND that are also good for.. hand modeling! Hand modeling is appealing to me for several reasons:

1) Hand models generally get to model big, shiny, sparkly objects called diamonds. And I love wearing sparkly things. I always have. I blame it on my parents, who would take me on family vacations to Branson when I was younger. I was infatuated with the female singers we would see and their pretty, sparkly dresses. I've been attracted to sparkles ever since. Don't get me wrong.. I'm not obsessed with diamonds or anything. I'm perfectly happy with owning cubic zirconia (except there is ONE ring I hope to own one day that will be the real deal...and as a side note to whoever will want to give that wonderful gift to me, my amazing girl friends concur that because I have such long fingers, only BIG rings look appropriate. But that's just a side note. :) Anyway, to wrap up point#1, I think it would be a blast to be able to wear amazing jewelry without having to pay for it.

2) On to point #2. Hand models could probably comfortably do their job in their pajamas. How cool is that? Who cares that you don't have on an ounce of makeup or that you have a zit that is making its grand entrance on your nose? In what other realm of modeling would that be okay?

3) Lastly, hand modeling would provide a little extra cash in the pocket. But then again, some of that money would have to go towards the many, many manicures it would take to keep such beautiful fingers and nails from becoming dull. What a rough life that would be. I don't know if I could handle that.

So if you know of any photographers or magazines that are needing new hand models, you know how to reach me. Seriously, though... the only place you'll probably see these hands is on my own blog... and photographed by ME.

Have a wonderful day. I hope this post made you giggle. Edited family photos coming soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Leaves are Changin'!

This is my favorite time of the year.... because it means brisk weather (no air conditioning means lower electric bills!), comfy clothing (jeans and cozy sweaters), and beautiful fall scenery (colors, colors everywhere!). Here in the Ozarks, the trees have started changing into brilliant shades of oranges and yellows and reds, and I'm so pumped! I'm even considering a random excursion to Arkansas to photograph some of the amazing scenery...

I've still got a few slots open for fall photos and I am starting to get some winter shoots booked. If you see a particular date that is good for you that is already full, just let me know and I will see if I can fit you in on that day as well. I want you to be able to take advantage of the great weather too!

I'm doing a family photo shoot this weekend for my good friend and former coworker, Emily, and her husband and son. They just recently built a brand new house in Rogersville that is absolutely amazing, and we are going to do some family/housewarming pictures. The great thing about the house is that Emily and Stephen virtually designed it themselves, so they are definitely very proud of the finished product, as they should be... Can't wait to do those pictures and post them soon!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ode to Music

I love music. I always have. Can you imagine a world without music? What a sad place that would be! I picked out my first song on the piano in second grade..The Rose by Bette Midler. Random song choice, I know. But that year in 2nd grade, my parents got me an upright piano at an auction.. the piano that I still have and love, despite many scratches and imperfections. For 10 years, week after week, until my senior year in high school, I continued with my lessons. Through the years I've played many genres of music--classical, jazz, gospel, ragtime, and broadway, just to name a few... Sometimes when I'm playing, I find myself amazed at the intricacy of how it all connects--seeing dots on a page and translating those dots into notes, recognizing that those notes can be found by pushing keys on a piano, pushing a pedal with my foot, counting, and having rhythm and making those things come together at just the right time... When you think about it, it's amazing, really.

My ability to identify with music also inspired me vocally. I was an alto in choir in elementary and junior high, and also my junior year in high school. I absolutely loved going to conferences and singing with hundreds of other students. I was always amazed at how the music and the voices could create such emotion... emotion that could bring goosebumps, joy, and even tears.

When I came to college, I grew tremendously in my faith... because of music. Singing songs of praise to the Lord week after week made me realize how good my God is, and how He longed to have a personal, loving relationship with me. For five years now, I have been blessed to sing on the praise team at my church, River Bluff Fellowship, and more recently, I have started playing the keyboard with the band as well. Every week, our worship band plays and sings with the sole purpose of worshipping God and leading others to meet Him in their own lives. It's powerful... And it makes a difference. We are reminded week after week that we are not performing for an audience, but rather, giving back to God with the talents that he has given us, with the hope of bringing others to know the hope and peace that only He can bring.

This post just poured out of me because I have another photography project forming in my head... I want to combine my love of photography and music and decorate the wall around my piano with some photographs of my piano and guitar (I'm still working on the whole guitar-learning thing..), and sheet music, as well as some other music-related things. A visual "Ode to Music" so to speak.. Anyway, I'll post pictures once I get it all together. Here in this post are some pix I've taken in the past... Hope your day is filled with music!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Design

I played around with the design on the header again, adding some translucent curly vines to the design. I also added a footer to the bottom of the page.. Check it out! It says Thanks for Visiting and shows a few more opaque photos... I'm going to test this out for awhile and see if I like it! Let me know what you think!

Picture Frame Collage

So I'm trying to get an early start this year on Christmas gifts... and for me, that means shopping the clearance aisles at my favorite stores for items that have minor defects, and then taking them home to "craft up" a little bit. Usually for me, this includes picture frames. Picture frames are great gifts for me to give and fill with photos, since I kinda like to take pictures.. I got some great deals today at Hobby Lobby at their 80% off aisle. I bought 18 frames and albums for a grand total of (drumroll please).. $36.20, a whopping $2ish apiece. Most of the frames will get a new paint job to hide some scratches and discoloration, while others are perfectly fine.

If you like a good deal, and consider yourself to be somewhat crafty, you may want to try a project like this... Buy a lot of wooden cheap frames on sale that are various sizes, shapes, and textures and spray paint them all the same color, insert your photos, and then hang them up for a fun photo collage. I did this in my own bathroom with some of my flower photos, and I always get compliments on it. It's great because you can add more frames any time you want!

Got any great crafty gift ideas? Let me know!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Decorating on a Dime

I love to decorate. And I like for it to be cheap. I bought a house in July 2007 and it has been my constant craft "project" ever since... I like to go to flea marketing (my favorite one being Ozarks Treasures on Campbell!). I'll hit garage sales here and there. I frequent Kirklands, Gordmans, and Hobby Lobby for all their home decor, and they always have amazing sales and coupons available for a little extra off their already reasonable prices. I've also been loving all the vintage-y decor that is popping up everywhere again... It makes my think of my 90-plus grandma and all the goodies she has collected over the years. Which brings me to my most recent decorating inspiration... Plates.

Plates are colorful. They have fun designs. They can be all different shapes. And you can find cheap ones at flea markets. I've been looking for a splash of color for my kitchen walls and for the soffit area above the cabinets, and I spotted some great plate decorating ideas on the Better Homes and Gardens website. I absolutely love this wooden plate rack, but can't find one anywhere....

so I may have to settle for the wire plate holders I found at Hobby Lobby that I can at least put above the cabinets. I guess that means I'll have to go flea marketing for plates. Dangit. Wanna go shopping?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blog Design

Ok, so I'm going to be playing around with my blog's main photo and header until I find a font and photo layout that I like... My goal is to have a header in which I can just plug in new pictures as I go along... Bear with me as I play around with new designs in Photoshop and try to make everything cohesive with this blog.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Tiffany and Christina are roommates and they host our weekly America's Next Top Model watch party. I offered to do some roommate shots so that they would have some sassy photos to liven up their bare apartment walls. They will definitely be watching ANTM with a different perspective now--the model's perspective!

See more photos here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Janelle's Debut...

My good friend, Janelle, was my first photo shoot with my new Canon 40D... The best part was looking at the photos afterward and knowing that even without any editing, they were magazine quality! What a great camera!.. On top of that, the camera absolutely loves her blue-green eyes, she is gorgeous inside and out, and is a fabulous model to work with! She also didn't even flinch when I asked her to get in some pretty dirty places and in some very random poses. Janelle, you're the greatest! Enjoy...

See more pictures here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Great Photo Gift Ideas

I don't know about you, but I absolutely LOVE to give personalized gifts--gifts that have a special meaning and that are unique and thoughtful, specific to the person you are giving it to. With the fall and holiday seasons coming up, you may be scrambling for ideas for those "perfect gifts" for your special someones... Here are some ideas for photo gifts.

If you would like to get some great pictures for these gifts ;) you may contact me to schedule a photo shoot. (You may want to right click and open these links in a new window).

Shutterfly -- You can create almost anything here... But the nicest gift here is the Photo Book. It conveys the idea of a wedding photo album in a hardcover, bound book. Templates are already created... all you have to do is drag and drop your digital files, and voila! you have a great photo album in book form. There are currently sales on photo books for 30% off, which makes it even nicer. Other gifts of interest are Holiday Designer Cards, Collage Posters, and Canvas Tote Bags.

Wal-Mart -- Wal-Mart has really increased its product line for photo gifts. Probably one of their better products are their make-your-own Calendars. Of course, Wal-Mart is still probably one of the cheapest places around to make your own fall or holiday Greeting Cards.

Snapfish -- Snapfish also has a variety of products available. I happen to like their Under $15 section.

Things Remembered -- There are not a ton of photo-related items at Things Remembered, but they do have great products,
and they are corporate sponsors of a non-profit very near and dear to my heart, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where I used to be a Wish Coordinator. They are a fabulous company to work with!

If you know of any more great places to buy photo-related gifts, please let me know, and I will add it to my list! I hope you will be pro-active this year and start thinking about the perfect gifts for those you love...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where Was That Taken?

I'm always on the lookout for new outdoor backgrounds for photos--colorful, textured walls, old abandoned buildings, open fields with rolling hills, unique and secretive places that nobody knows about. It's always a great feeling when someone says "That's amazing! Where in the world was that taken?"

One aspect of being a musician, artist, and photographer is the constant craving for doing something that is fresh and creative. Not only does it make the end product more intriguing and makes people want to come back for more, but it can potentially push the artist out of their comfort zone and ultimately helps shape their work. With photography, one of my guilty pleasures is driving around aimlessly looking for fun and funky scenes for upcoming photo shoots. When I have a spare hour or two, I look for different ways to get places, and sometimes, new backdrops miraculously jump out at me. It's simply a matter of thinking outside the box and embracing it.

Do you know of any amazing places that would be great in photos? If so, let me know the location, and you may just end up seeing them in some future posts... Also, if you have any questions about the locations of any photos of mine that you have seen, feel free to email me and I will be more than happy to share.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Photo Blogs I Love

My most recent obsession is being a stalker... a blog stalker, that is. I've found some fabulous photographers who keep blogs to update their clients on new and exciting things going on within the business, and who post sneak peeks of recent shoots. They do a great job of keeping things interesting and current so that people will want to come back for more.

Here are just a few of my favorites. They're not local... I just found them on the web. They inspire me, and I think they'll inspire you too... (you may want to right click and open in a new window)

Indie Jane Photography

Blue Lily Photography

Brianna Graham

Cope Photography

Amy Wenzel Photography

Brenda Acuncius Photography

Pinkle Toes Photography

Jasmine Star Photography

Let me know if there are any fabulous blogs you would like to pass on!