Monday, February 21, 2011

I love camera phone images and  I love my Hipstamatic App for the iphone. I'm always entering images into their groovy contests. Never won, but it's the taking of them that is rewarding and addictive. I've yet to convince one of my brides to let me shoot the whole thing on my iphone (dreaming) ;) Any takers?
 I think most of us have an amazing story told in the albums on our phones. We whip out the camera phone when a moment strikes us...something we think is worthy of remembering and probably of the people you care about the most. The people you share your life with. An app I would love--print all my phone images into a nicely bound book. I would buy it and cherish the little bound book it created. The unpredictability and lack of control of the Hipstamatic is an experience or experiment that I highly recommend getting involved with. This shot was with the john smith lens and the kodot film.
Our Ruby 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crush on Destinating | part III

In Part I and Part II of our Destination Wedding series, we shared some of the advantages and disadvantages in choosing a destination wedding. One of the items made both lists; not having control over every detail. For some, this could be a great sense of relief or create high degrees of anxiety in others. Regardless, you will need to hire vendors from the local area and trust that they will provide the service you were expecting. 

Where to Start?
1. First, start with their online presence. If they are catering to destination couples, they know this is your first impression of them. The impression should be a good one. If it's lack lustre at this initial first step, it's hard to imagine they are going to go the extra mile for your special celebration. And remember, you need to have confidence in your vendors.
2. When you contact a vendor via phone or email do you receive a reply within a reasonable time? Don't be surprised if the response isn't immediate (within a few days). This is a good indicator as to how all your future inquiries will be handled by that particular vendor.
3.  Look at the online portfolios carefully. Make sure the images you are falling in love with are of the immediate location you are thinking of choosing and not stock tourism images from the entire area. Read as many reviews as possible from many different sources.
TripAdvisor is one of many that will help to determine the feel of resorts, and many, that are popular with brides, will have reviews that include their wedding experience. Very valuable information.
4. A planner is essential. If you are traveling out of your country, your local planner will speak the language and be able to communicate with all your vendors if you can't. She/He will know all the necessary permits and laws that will be necessary for being wed outside of your country. Many large resorts have a wedding department and a menu of services from which you can choose. Literally, boxes are ticked for the services you want. Bridal Bouquet (check). Photographer ( check ) 4-piece music ensemble (check).  You may not be offered a variety of choices within each category. For example, we wanted live music. Our choices were mariachi or jazz and we did not get to choose from a variety of musicians. It was either them or the other guy.  There were no style choices for a photographer or videographer. Only if we wanted one or not. If you are choosing a boutique location, a local planner is invaluable. He/She will organize all the details for you, including the marriage laws of that country. (stay tuned for a future post with advice from a professional planner in Mexico). The planner will also be able to make sure all the necessary permits are required if you choose to do #5.
5. Do you want to travel with your own talent? Some brides decide to hire vendors from their home town. They pay for their services and their travel costs. Why? Confidence in the product. Photographers, make-up artists, and hair stylists often get asked to come along. Many have relationships with the above people in their home towns and feel they can be trusted to deliver on their wedding day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crush on Destinating | part II

Are you considering a destination wedding? 
Don't miss Part I - To Destinate or Not? The Advantages

Today, we are looking at why a destination wedding might not work for you.

The disadvantages to a destination wedding focuses mostly on the others who would attend your wedding. Typically, destination weddings save the couple thousands of dollars while the guests dish out a lot to attend. 
- Not all your friends and family will be able to afford to join you. Many cannot get the time off work or afford the cost of a vacation that you have chosen when and where it will be. Accept and understand that not everyone wants to join in on your travel plans and it has nothing to do with how much they care about you or not wanting to attend your wedding. Quite the contrary, using vacation time, acquiring passports, purchasing outfits that fit the locale, etc. can really add up. 
- What about children? Are you welcoming them along? This will substantially raise the cost for your traveling families. If children are not invited, what are the parents to do with their babies for a week while attending your wedding?
- What about health? Not everyone is in good health and may find the trip to be draining or impossible to make and would miss out on celebrating with you because of health, age, or disability.
- Plan for jet-lag, travel delays, and lost luggage. Yes, brides often carry their dress down the aisle. The aisle of the plane that is. 
- Be prepared to upset family and friends about this decision. From my experience, there are many conflicting opinions during any type of wedding planning. Whether you are destinating or not, keep in mind that while it is your dream day many key players in your life will want a say in how you do it. 
- Less control and more trust in the planner and/or vendors you have chosen. Be aware of inflated advertising. I know the photos online look wonderful, but most are not going to pay a visit to double check as you would do at home. Do your research and lots of it. Read lots of reviews from many different sites. Hold your vendors to the same expectations you have at home. Are they emailing, phoning you in a timely fashion? Is the website professional? Can you contact someone immediately? Are there guarantees? 
- You may not be able to get a particular service that you could at home. Pricing will be different--some will save you, some way more expensive. Photography and videography are a good example of this (we'll talk more about this in part III).
- You may have to plan much further in advance simply to allow for your guests to make travel arrangements that fit their life plans as well. 
- Etiquette states that you should never expect a wedding gift from anyone if they were not invited to the ceremony (or could not make it) and that includes if you throw a reception/party when you return home.  

Still thinking of destinating? Stay tuned for the third post in our series of destination weddings. Don't miss out. Follow the blog or join our Facebook page at Skye Snyder Photography. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Crush on Red

i heart faces is supporting Go Red for Women and the American Heart Association. The theme, RED. I chose this photo to honor women, honor the heart and the love we give, and to celebrate today, Valentine.
thanks for dropping by
{here's to your heart}

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Crush on Destinating

Planning a Destination Wedding?

Almost six years ago, Joshua and I escaped to Xpu-Ha, Mexico (above).  I suppose that explains why I have a special spot for couples who "destinate" to share their vows and begin their married life together. Planning a distant celebration has its own challenges and joys. Having gone through the process and being a destination wedding photographer, I feel we may have some advice that could help engaged couples plan their first nuptial adventure. 
Our Wedding in Xpu-Ha, Mexico by Ruby, age 6

Our Wedding by Ruby, age 5. The star is a light. A HUGE light that hung
from the center of the main palapa. It floated above as we first danced as
husband and wife.  We bought a miniature one that hangs in our home's
entrance. A constant reminder to that moment together.
#1. Why Choose a Destination Wedding? 

- Appeals to those afflicted with the travel bug and adventure
- Cost effective by combining the wedding 

and the honeymoon in one trip
- Your planner will do it all for you (which may be difficult for someone who wants to be a part of every detail) and can be virtually stress-free
- A more intimate experience because only your closest friends and family will be there
- You will actually get to visit with your circle of pals poolside throughout the week's stay versus trying to chat with each table at a formal wedding while "being in the moment" with your Love.
- Couples get to depart from the traditions that are expected in a more formal wedding
- Perfect for second marriages and renewing vows. A little more simplified, casual, and only about their union. 

This is the first of  a series of blogs regarding destination weddings. Don't want to miss the posts? Follow the blog to receive updates or join our Facebook page; Skye Snyder Photography

Did you have a destination wedding? Planning one? Been a guest at one? Please leave a comment for us. We'd love to hear from you.

Crush on Love Tokens II

Part II of the Love Token Series - Missed Part I? Click here.

Two days ago, the lovely winners from our {LOVE} writing contest, delivered a love token package to me. One gave it to me. The other was here in the form of a miniature dinosaur. I'll explain.
The love letters they wrote.
The winners revealed post.
The shoot.
the love token
{A} ordered this cup and in the special instructions box jokingly wrote, "Could you draw a dinosaur inside the box?" {Photojojo} didn't draw a dinosaur, they actually sent one inside the cup! Service and a sense of humor.  Yep, it was like having her right here standing in the driveway. A love token that excites my photog self from two gals who excite my heart. 

Thanks, Girls! You inspired the next contest; the Skye Snyder Photography Love Token Contest that launched on Flickr. This morning, I lift my cool cup of java to you. {CHEERS}
Can't wait to see what everyone enters. Have fun. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crush on Love Tokens

I swoon over love tokens. Those are the little things that someone gives to you simply because they want to tell you, "I think you're pretty groovy -- thanks - I have a little spot of love inside for you". I float a little when I get one. They are my favorite things. 
Here's one that arrived from my friend, Katina. She also happens to be my most photographed client. She and her husband have allowed me to photograph all their life moments from engagement to family of four and all the things in between. She has been one of my biggest supporters--even as I pipe-dreamed across the bar from her at Foley's . She has always encouraged me to go for it.  Everyone should know a Katina.  Love Token from K....
Cherished Thoughts with Love by Anne Geddes - THE baby photographer who changed how wee babes were photographed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Crush on GrassRoots

GrassRoots is a name I chose to help define my style of shooting. When a client asks for it, I know immediately what they are looking for.  This was how I began my shooting career and this is where I have returned. It's simple and real. I show up with a camera and let life unfold. It's OK to leave the bed unmade. No, the kids do not have to be coiffed. It's your life and it is beautiful. As is.
This is little Lea from yesterday as she gazes at her big sister. You may remember Big Sis from her Christmas session.
If you would like to reserve a GrassRoots session, visit our site

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crush on Education

Last night's dream.
I was checking in at my child's school for one of my two obligatory work days.  In many ways, similar to  jury duty. Even a small card arrived in the mail reminding me of my scheduled work time. It was the lay of the land. Everyone worked two days for a public school. It wasn't voluntary. Our employers paid.  This was a duty that citizens looked forward to and from which businesses benefitted. Without the consent and financial support of their employers, most couldn't have participated in their child's school due to the common hours shared.  Businesses wanted to assist the schools. Afterall, many were going to school as preparation to become a part of the workforce.  
To participate with the schools was simply a part of the culture. Not a place to drop and forget,  pray for the best, and complain at the outcome.  To lend our hands into one of the largest public systems known to Americans was considered a privilege.  Schools were dreamy places of academic and creative achievement.  They were places you would want to go. Engineers, gardeners, artists, attorneys, doctors, chefs, crafters, landscapers, everyone was invested in the school. It was a community success or failure. 
For my head, this was a wonderful dream. It stirred me awake at 4:40am. Could it really be possible?

If you would like to read thoughts grounded in research instead of in my nightly visions...
A few clicks led me to Matthew Taylor's Blog and to a fantastic animate on changing education paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crush on 40

Today was the day that I turned 40. I've been saying I was forty for about four years now. For no reason other than rounding-up somehow seemed easier. I do believe I was 30 for a few years also.  I suppose the point is, it just doesn't really matter that much.  What does matter to me is how my life is unfolding at any age and with whom I have chosen to share it with at all their ages. I've been "shakra-shaked" a few times today by the love and support from those who have chosen to do this magic roller coaster ride with me. It's only noon. It's not often that we feel so content that our physical body responds--tickling with approval. Today, I lift my glass to you and thank you for celebrating all 7 years of my fortieth year with me. 
I want to share with you this photo session--my photography at 40 and her life at 40 days. 
I introduce you to Lea.
congratulations jill + larry. thank you......again.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Crush on Fix-Its

It's Fix-It time. The photographer, Julie submitted this photo to the i heart faces Flickr Group for the rest of us to play with and try to fix. She told us the odd color cast came from the yellow walls and light coming through pink curtains (a challenge for any on-location photographer).  My walls are aqua, hot pink....I've been here many times. 
I used Photoshop but all the edits can be done on the most basic of photo editing programs. 
the process
1. Black & white or color? Sometimes with skin tone issues, it may be easier to eliminate the color. Her PJs would have turned out lovely in B/W all that contrast but her skin would look muddy--a "term" that manages to make its way into almost any and all discussions I am having about black and white photography. I opted for color to get all that delicious baby skin color and pop in her PJs. 
2. To crop or not? Being a location (I'm hearing this called environmental photography) photographer, I couldn't part with the house details even if it only included a small portion of the frames in the hall. I love placement, which is why I rarely studio shoot. 
3. Brighten up her face using CURVES. Careful to not blow out(over brighten which results in lost details) the left side of her face. I had to use the SELECT tool and only brighten the right side and bottom portion of the image.
4. I'm old school. Worked in photo labs and darkrooms so I went to the old standby of COLOR BALANCE.  I think it pays off to learn the difference between majenta - red and cyan - blue. Adjust to her skin tone. I always tend to adjust for a warmer skin. You may like it cooler with a little more blue in it.
5. SHARPNESS. The image is a little soft. I used a tool that I have never used (a ha...I'm learning too) SHARPEN under the FILTERS. I don't think I used too much. When you do, it starts to look like someone has drawn an ink line around all the defined/harder edges- particularly on the eyes and it can look overdone and unnatural.
6. She had a bit of the sweet baby shine on the her chin and a tiny mark on her cheek. I CLONED that out.
7. DODGED (brightened) her eyes a touch. VOILA. FINI. 

Visit the link above and download to try your own editing hand. Have fun. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crush on Oxtails

2011 MUST-DO List included becoming a better cook--more experimental and playing with new flavors.  I've waitressed in diners to swanky digs. One of them was a Reno staple, Louis' Basque Corner, paid my way through college by slinging Picon Punches and lots and lots of lamb platters with mint jelly. Basque food is served family style with many people sharing a table--friends or not. The first 3 or 4 courses are delivered on platters for the whole table to dig into; bread, soup, salad, and the appetizer du jour. Oxtails, tongue, and rabbit stew were a part of the weekly rotation. I have the fondest memory of oxtails. They were delicious and unusual and I loved when Louis served them up for his staff. This week, I revisited the memory from my own kitchen.
The following recipe is adapted from Paula Dean's Home Cooking. I was a little confused in parts so I hope my adaptation helps to clarify for beginning cooks like myself. 
All the images were photographed on my porch and one from the inside of the oven. If only you could have smelled the aroma. Divine. 
Gather the ingredients...


  • 3 pounds oxtails ( i found them at Walmart ~ $8.00)
  • House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • Olive oil to coat the bottom of the Dutch Oven
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth ( Trader Joe's Organic Beef Broth ~ $2.50)
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine ( Trader Joe's Famous "2 Buck Chuck" Charles Shaw Cabernet which is now ~ $3.00)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, large ones cut in 1/2 (used the knife "smash" technique to peel/cut them)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (Trader Joe's)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste (Trader Joe's)
  • 8 oz of tomato sauce ( Trader Joe's Organic Marinara Sauce - I "eyeballed" the amount from the jar)
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce to your heat preference/taste. Leave out if you do not like spicey food. 
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 6 small new potatoes, cut in 1/2 ( Trader Joe's bag of small potatoes; variety of reds, yellows, and purples)
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths ( Trader Joe's 1/2 bag of peeled carrots - no cutting necessary)
  • 1 pot rice ( 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. Trader Joe's Organic Basmati White Rice- do not lift the lid. Let the rice do it's thing without peaking. Follow the package directions. 15 minutes made perfect rice.)

house seasoning

You can make a smaller/larger batch and store for up to 6 months.
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) black pepper
  • 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle the oxtails liberally with House Seasoning on both sides. DO NOT DUMP THE WHOLE MIXTURE IN. DO NOT TOSS THE OXTAILS IN IT. Sprinkle, turn, sprinkle. 
Coat the bottom of a heavy oven-proof Dutch oven with the olive oil. On the stove-top, using a higher heat (8 or 9 on our oven) add the oxtails and sear on all sides. The aroma is magnificent!!! Remove and set aside. Add the beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic cloves. Stir. Add basil, oregano, bay leaves, hot sauce, marinara sauce and tomato paste, and the seared oxtails. Stir. DO NOT ADD THE VEGGIES YET.
Cover tightly, place in oven, and cook for 2 hours. Sample the wine while you wait. 
Remove from oven and add the onion wedges, potatoes, and carrots to the pot. Cover and return to the oven for another hour. 
Serve oxtails with the vegetables over rice. 
Three children ages 4, 6, & 8 + 2 adults loved it and I had a sensory treat down memory lane. By the time the oxtails were ready, it was dark out. The lights in our house are dim, so I failed to fully complete the project--a shot of the finished masterpiece. I hope you are encouraged to create your own so you can see it for yourself. 
Beautiful hydrangeas for the table(Trader Joe's ~$5.00 for an arrangement with irises). Unfortunately, the heat in the kitchen wilted them almost instantly. Yeah, for the hearty, surviving irises. 
I can't duplicate the Bar Master Luis' Picon Punch. I'll just have to drop in for one of those. 
Want to see photos of Louis' Basque Corner? Leave a comment and I'll take it as an "assignment" :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Crush on Tiny Prints

Looking for something a little more personal for your child's Valentine's party at school? Tiny Prints has photo v-cards. Upload your favorite image and voila--a custom Valentine for your little love's pals.  I've seen (and felt) the quality. Love their papers and couldn't ask for an easier ordering system. I have just ordered new wedding business cards from Tiny Prints and can't wait to pass out to all the newly engaged couples out there.....or soon to be after February 14th. 

Use the codes below to receive a discount. 

Regular Offer: 10% off Orders $49+. Code AFF1105
New Customer Offer: 15% off $75+.  Code: NEW1105
Save the Dates: $15 off any Save the Date order of $75 or more. (Code: AFFSTD)