I Sold My First Stock Photo!!

Oh happy morning! I had some extra time today, so I was going over my blogs and emails. I decided to check on my Shutterstock account. Sadly, I have been busy so I hadn’t been keeping up on it like I should have. I opened it up expecting to see the downloads ticker reading 0 still. But to my surprise, it said that I now have a download! It was an image i took of a brick wall, one I took specifically for uploading to Shutterstock. I also made $1.88 on the sale. 🙂

Even though it is just one photo that was downloaded, it is a wonderful feeling. I had worked really hard for awhile, hoping one of my photos was good enough that someone actually wanted to buy it. After losing my chance to be on a National Geographic assignment, this feels like a huge win. 🙂

I will keep everyone posted on if I sell anymore photos, or what happens with anything I do on Shutterstock. Thank you everyone who took the time to enjoy this moment with me. 🙂

-Amanda

Goodbye YourShot, it has been a journey

I sit here on Halloween, the festivities for the day are done. The LO is sleeping away, tired from a fun day of costumes and candy. The husband is unwinding with a YouTube video. I am resting my very tired feet. It has been a good day, marked with the fun that accompanies this holiday.

However, as the evening closes, it is also a somber moment for me. The photography community that I have been a part of for so long is coming to an end today. YourShot is a site run by National Geographic, and it was a place for photographers from all levels could come submit their works of art. For more information about YourShot, please see my other post “End of an Era: YourShot is going away.”

The first photo I ever submitted was over 6 years ago. It was a rare find, a baby walking stick. I remember uploading it, and within minutes I got my first comment “Great shot! Please promise you’ll post more.” And I did! I ended up posting 52 photos over the past 6 years. I could have uploaded more, but I only wanted to submit my best of the best.

My first photo on NG YourShot

I remember so many people posting photos of such tender, dear moments for them. Loved ones on their death bed, people giving birth, and so on. I remember one woman posting a self portrait. She was sitting down, and upright in her lap was a picture of her younger self. She had her head leaning against the picture, and was looking fore lonely into the distance. The caption said how she missed her youth, and that she didn’t feel beautiful anymore. She had wished that someone would have told her that she was going to miss being young and vibrant so much. The picture won an award (I can’t remember if it was Daily Dozen or an assignment). The community rallied around her, and posted such loving and supportive messages on her photo. It was really beautiful to see everyone come together like that and show such love to a stranger.

I remember the one time one of my photos was selected for “Editor’s Favorites.” It was a picture I had taken of a Golden Orb Weaver Spider. The spider is silhouetted against florescent lighting. I had submitted it to the assignment “Urban Wildlife.” I was checking my email at my parents house when I saw the notification. I was so excited!! I told everyone, and kept checking on the assignment daily after that. While I was sad it did not make the final selection, it was still one of my happiest photography moments.

My photo that was selected as an “Editor Favorite”

It has been fun getting to go on the different assignments, comparing photos with the community, and waiting with baited breath to see whose photos would be selected. I tend to get sentimental about these things. 🙂

Now it is time to find something new, something different for my photos. It will be a good opportunity to explore what is out there and find something fun.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to let me reminisce! Hope you all had a good Halloween,

-Amanda

Bridesmaid Tips: 10 things to make the big day go smoother

Bridesmaid Tips

10 things to make the big day go smoother

#1 – Make your own emergency kit: For both the ceremony and for decorating the venue

You see many tips on what the bride should pack in her “day of” kit. But what about the bridesmaids? You could have your own “emergencies” to deal with, and the last thing you want to do is bother the bride and use up her resources. Pretty much what the bride packs in hers is what you will pack in yours. You can download my emergency list under the “Printables” section of my site or by clicking on shutterbugsflight.com/printables-and-images/.

Besides having a kit for the day of the ceremony, it is good to have one for decorating the venue as well. That can be an overlooked area. I am working on a checklist for decorating, and will post it as soon as it is available. 🙂

#2 – Arrive everywhere EARLY

Plan on being everywhere at least 15 minutes before you need to be there. That will give you some extra wiggle room if there are traffic delays, or if you have to make a side detour.

#3 – Pack different shoes for getting ready

If you are wearing heels for the ceremony and you are not very comfortable in them, you may want different shoes for getting ready in. This is also helpful because sometimes photographers like to get photos of the bridal party shoes all together. This way you have other shoes to wear while your other ones are getting photographed.

#4 – Remember the gift!

With everything going on, it can be very easy to forget the gift. You get to the destination, see the overflowing gift table, then realize why you had that nagging feeling you forgot something. It has happened to several people I know (myself included). If possible, you can put it in your car the night before. Or, have everything you are taking gathered by the door. Make sure the gift is included with them. This will help when you are scrambling to get out the door with everyone.

#5 – Be sure to eat

Rehearsal dinner, speech writing, getting your hair done, running to the store to buy fingernail polish when the bride realizes she forgot hers. With everything going on, meal time can come and go without you even realizing it.

But then you get to stand at the front of the crowd, next to the bride, and you can start feeling light headed. Dizzy. You might even possibly faint. Be sure to eat a hearty breakfast with a good amount of protein. If it is an evening wedding, don’t forget lunch. Also, be sure to pack a snack in your emergency kit that will have what you need to keep you going.

#6 – Charge your electronics

It may be second nature, since most of us don’t let our phones get below a 50% charge, but remember to charge your phone and any other electronics you may be taking. This can include cameras, laptops, sound systems, and more. The last thing you will want is to see your phone is dying and you will not be able to take that great family photo that everyone else is getting.

#7 – Don’t forget to smile!

I was in a wedding once where right before I went down the aisle, things started going haywire. My flower girl ran off without me, the ground was thick mud and my tiny heels kept sinking in, and the sun made a glare so I couldn’t tell where I was walking. The photographer captured the “magic moment” of me walking down to join the rest of the bridal party. I looked positively angry in that photo. It looked like a photo that belonged in the DMV and not at my dear friend’s wedding. And now that photo is immortalized in a photo album somewhere.

Now, even if things are going bad, I take a moment before I walk down. I tell myself to smile, and walk slow. I try to be purposeful and make sure I focus on my smile and my walk. Remember – there are many cameras in the crowd! This is also a big day for your friend/relative – remembering that can help put a smile on the face. 🙂

#8 – Wear a wide neck shirt or buttons for getting ready

Normally your hair will be done before you put on your dress. It can be hard to remember that far ahead with everything else that is going on. When you are doing your hair and makeup, be sure to wear a shirt that won’t interfere with your hair when you remove it. That can either be something with a really wide or stretchy neck, or a shirt with buttons or a zipper.

#9 – Practice wearing similar shoes to the ones you will wear in the ceremony

If you are a flats girl, and you are going to wearing heels in the ceremony, it is good to practice with similar shoes beforehand!

#10 – Pack clothes that you can wear to help clean up in.

If you are able, you will be expected to stay behind and help clean up the venue. This allows the happy couple to head off on their honeymoon and not worry about cleaning. There could be all kinds of things you need to do: Pack gifts into a car, pack extra food away, sweep floors, take out trashes, etc. Make sure you have clothes that you can easily clean up in and you don’t mind possibly getting food or cleaner on. This includes comfy shoes to wear!

-Aurora

5 Tips for going to Comic Con with a Toddler

This past weekend we went to the local Comic Con. We are from a smaller town, so this particular convention was much smaller than the ones found in cities like Orlando or San Diego. However, it is a lot of fun and a bunch of people turn up every year.

This year we went with the little one, who is one year old now. Going to Comic Con with a toddler is VERY different than going with just adults. I learned some valuable information that I wanted to pass along. Note: Most of this advice is for parents who want to cosplay as well as bring their children along to the event. If you can manage it, it can be a great time with lots of great photo opportunities!

#1 – Make sure your costume can incorporate some kind of bag

First, check to see if you are allowed to bring in any bags. If so, then find some way to incorporate a diaper bag, backpack, or tote into your outfit. There will be booths handing out swag, and you may need to carry things like diapers and cameras with you. There are a lot of different costumes that could work with a bag. When I went, I cosplayed as Star Fox (from the Nintendo game). While the character doesn’t normally have a bag, I had a grey backpack diaper bag that had a space patch on it. It worked well into the costume and I was able to carry anything I needed. It was a chance to be creative. 🙂

#2 – Try to bring with a stroller/carrier

When you go to these events, things are VERY crowded! It can be easy to lose someone in the throngs of people. I brought with the stroller to this Comic Con. I will admit: it was hard to maneuver through the aisles with the stroller, but I was so glad I had it. I could have easily lost sight of the LO in the crowds. It can also be hard for people to see in their costumes, so it is good to have the LO off the floors.

#3 – Go easy on the props

You will end up having a bunch of things to carry. If possible, try to find a costume that will not require that your hands be occupied the whole time.

#4 – Find a cosplay outfit that is easy to move around in

Whenever I go to Comic Con, I always see very beautiful, amazing outfits that are terrible for free movement. This is great if you are trying to win the costume contest, horrible if you are trying to keep a one year old next to you.

#5 – Find an exit strategy for everywhere you go

At any given moment, you may need to breakaway. The baby might start crying, they could announce some speaker that will create a mad rush, or you may see a scary costume you want to keep away from the LO. If possible, pick up a map of the area from the information stand. Otherwise, when you enter an area, try to survey your surroundings before you go in to far.

Hope these tips will help!

-Amanda

Bridesmaid Emergency Kit Checklist

It is an exciting day for you: Your friend is getting married and you get to be by their side as they say “I Do.” The emotions, the love…. the preparation!! Although the bride is making sure she has everything, you also want to make sure you don’t hold up the show. That can mean making sure you have anything you may need (and any foreseeable emergency supplies the bride may need as well).

I love making lists! I try to have a list for everything. It helps keep me organized. So this means that I have a list of emergency items I might need for when I am in a wedding. To date, I have only been in four weddings. However I have learned a lot from each one. I used my experiences to create my emergency kit.

If you would like to make your own kit, below is the checklist:

I will soon be doing a blog post where I actually packed my kit, to show how everything got stored. Hope this helps any future bridesmaids who are reading this! I hope you have a lot of fun in the wedding. 🙂

-Amanda

How a very tired mom makes a creative cake

Soon I will be posting my instructions for creating a Pokemon rock cake. While I did enjoy making the cake, it was not without it’s trials. I wanted to share the story behind the cake to show that we are all human and tired and sometimes we have to keep pushing through. 🙂 See below for the real story behind the cake.

  1. Have your husband request you to make a Pokemon cake for an upcoming event. Agree because it sounds like fun and you forget you are already crazy stressed and should not be trusted with any more tasks.
  2. While driving, imagine this great cake design: Plastic Pokemon figurines surrounded by rock candy you grew yourself. The rock candy will look like the stones they use in the show. You can also dye the frosting blue, red, green, and yellow: Then you can make the top of the cake look like water, fire, leaves, and lightning .
  3. Do a quick Pinterest search: Nobody else had this idea. This will be a great blog post that everyone will want to click on.
  4. Find a blog page on how to create rock candy using Koolaid. It involves sugar water that you suspend bamboo sticks in for two weeks. During the two weeks little sugar crystals will form creating the rock candy. You can even watch the crystals grow through the translucent water.
  5. Try making the recipe while getting distracted by husband watching Dragon Ball Z (seriously though, how does Vegeta become a good guy??).
  6. Add Koolaid to the cups and figure out that the “Lemon-aid” mix is not yellow but a light red. Decide that lightning will be eliminated from the final design.
  7. Realize you cannot see your bamboo sticks through the water because you put too much Koolaid in. Thus, you will not be able to tell how well the crystals are growing.
  8. Put rock candy on a shelf in the hutch, deciding that it would be a nice, quiet place to grow (the crystals will not grow if they are disturbed). Have the little one find the hutch for the first time in his life, then bang the doors open and closed on it.
  9. Go to the grocery store to buy yellow cake mix and frosting because you are too tired to make a cake from scratch. Decide on Betty Crocker only because it is on sale.
  10. Bake the cake. After pouring the mixture into the pan, realize you forgot to add the oil. Pour mixture back into the mixing bowl and add oil.
  11. Check the rock candy after two weeks. Nothing has grown at all. Zilch. The only thing you have to show for your work is a sticky Koolaid syrup.
  12. Go to the candy store on main street to buy rock candy.
  13. Get distracted on the way back to the car by a baby store and someone getting arrested at a restaurant.
  14. Get back to the house with your new baby toy, and play with the little one for an hour before remembering you were on a mission.
  15. Frost the cake. Contemplate leaving the cake white because at the moment it looks good.
  16. Decide that “Fortune Favors the Bold,” and dye your remaining frosting red, blue, and green.
  17. Mentally divide the cake into thirds and start frosting the different colors. Hope that nothing goes terribly wrong. Suddenly remember the cake you make that ended up looking like a toilet (it was supposed to be a lake….).
  18. Finish the frosting, breathe a sigh of relief that it didn’t end in disaster.
  19. Sit down to take a 5 minute break before finishing. Have it be 45 minutes because the cat crawled on your lap and he was too cute to move.
  20. Add the rock candy and Pokemon figurines.
  21. Decide that was fun, you could improve on it, and you want to do another one because you have not learned your lesson.
Side by Side: The bag of candy is the one I bought from the candy store. The plate of sticks was the result of my own efforts after two weeks. 🙂

🙂 Have a great week everyone!

-Amanda

3 things I learned from my September Photo Challenge

Good morning everyone! Happy October – it is hard to believe that September is already over. It also means that my photo challenge for the month is over as well. It was a lot of fun trying out my photo skills everyday. If you would like to see all the photos I took for the challenge, please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=102074784498956&story_fbid=105291374177297 . I have included the highlights here in this blog post.

#1 – Sometimes you need to get creative

If there is a random object on your list, it might be hard to find it on any particular given day. For example, one of the items I had to photograph was a basket. I didn’t think that was going to very hard, but I couldn’t seem to find a photo-worthy basket. It wasn’t until the end of the month when I went to a stenciling party that I came up with my shot.

I also found myself taking quite a few creative liberties. My “book” image was of a rainbow, harkening back to the TV show “Reading Rainbow.” Creative genius? Stretching it? To lazy to find books but had taken a great rainbow photo and wanted to use it? There are so many options. 🙂

#2 – If you miss a day, it is ok!

Some days it can be hard to remember your own name, let alone to take a photo! Most of the photos I took for this challenge were not on the day they were supposed to be taken. The first 4 were good, then one or two here and there. However, most of them were taken in groupings when I remembered I needed photos for the challenge. Or they were taken without the challenge in mind, but ended up working out anyways. All of them were taken in September 2019, so that is good!

The important thing is to not get discouraged, and to keep going. If I gave up after I had missed one, this would be a very short and boring post. 🙂

#3 – Pick your favorite and least favorite photos so you can improve

My main reason for doing this was so that I can improve my photography. So I wanted to look at both my favorite photo and least favorite to see if I could improve.

My favorite was probably #4 – Animal. I managed to capture a duck in front of a set of cliffs. There are things I could do to improve the picture, but I like how the duck is outlined in the photo. His head is turned just right so I can capture his face. You can see changing leaves in the background. I do wish that the image was clearer – that is something I will need to work on.

My least favorite is #10 – Leaves. This image is super blurry. I probably should have re shot it. However, I was desperately trying to get a leaf photo, and happened to spy this when we were in the car. Besides it being blurry, the composition is off. It doesn’t really read leaf to me. More like gas station. But it gives me an area to improve in at least. 🙂

I am going to be trying to do another challenge in October, this time using one from https://www.theidearoom.net/october-photo-a-day-challenge . I will see what I can do with this new challenge. I have posted the new challenge below.

https://www.theidearoom.net/october-photo-a-day-challenge

Thank you everyone for reading! Hope you have a great day,

-Amanda

Sewing Project: 3 Different Nerdy Tablecloths

Hello everyone! I spent yesterday making tablecloths, and wanted to show everyone the finished products. I can sew fairly well, but usually do not have enough time to do anything very complex. My husband and I had bought some “material squares” a few months ago. One had the periodic table of elements on it, and the other had the planets on it. We thought that these would make good educational tablecloths for the LO. I made tablecloths out of the two fabric sheets, and a Pokemon tablecloth out of some other material I bought.

The first one I made was the periodic table of elements one. For this one, I used a base material that had numbers all over it. I added strips of black material to the sides so that it would be wide enough to fit the table. I then put the Periodic Table square in the middle. The fabric square already had a border, which was nice.

The second one I made was the Pokemon one. I had originally planned to make pillowcases out of the material, so I had already chopped up the material. Since I had the material in sections already, I decided to piece it together using strips of black material and create a quilt-like effect.

The third one I made was the planet one. I happened to have some turquoise material that I could use for a border. After I added the turquoise border, I added generic planet material to the ends to make it long enough for the table.

Hope everyone has a great week!

-Amanda

Redirection

Feet

I have been humbled in just the few months that i have started this blog. This journey started off with set goals and ideas. From the start, there have been setbacks and disappointments. Learning that YourShot was gone, having several outings where things did not go as planned, and failing to have a sale in stock photography, were all hard blows to take. I had thought that something would yield success to some extent, but nothing has.

However, not all is bad! I have enjoyed the creative challenges that I have found. And all this has given me a chance to reevaluate.

For the next few months, I am going to throw caution to the wind. I am going to be posting about lots of different things: Photography, crafting, organizing, etc. I want to find out which direction to fly! I plan to just blog about whatever comes to me until the end of December. Starting in January, I hope to have a clearer idea of where I would like to take this blog. I have read a lot of blogging guides that it is best to start out with a wide scope and then narrow it down. I started with very defined goals, so now I am going to expand out. Although I am doing this backwards, I think it will work out well. I am excited to see what happens when I include more. 🙂

Thank you everyone! I am looking forward to the next couple of months. 🙂 🙂

-Amanda