Kisses 25¢

Photo booths bring out the best in camera shy people.

Using pictures I found on Pinterest, John was able to repurpose a ticket booth to create a kissing booth to use for photos at Sarah’s and Daniel’s wedding, and I got a kiss from my sweetheart.

IMG_6523What a fun cousin shot!

IMG_6606More cousins.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset


Friends and family join the bride.

IMG_6529The fun wasn’t only for the younger generation.

IMG_6703When have these girls looked better?

IMG_6483Grandparents sneak a kiss.


The bride and groom goofing around.

IMG_6526Guests get a little sassy.


The soon to be Mr. and Mrs. slip away for a kiss.

S&KAnd my sister got quite a surprise!


Not everyone needed props…a few actually just gathered with friends and family and smiled.

Finally, Daniel steals a kiss from his bride.


Collect – My New Favorite App

I’ve been looking for an app which is both a journal and a way to collect photos, and I think I’ve found it. Collect – Photo Journal is a great way to collect a photo everyday and write a brief description of the event. It’s a quick and easy diary on my phone.

After opening the app, you just click on the date and you get the option to either take a photo or open your photo library. If you decide to open the photo library, it opens to the pictures on your camera that were taken on the date selected on the calendar. Then it’s as simple as selecting the image to use. Add a title of up to 115 characters and if desired add tags to provide an easy way to group and find related pictures, and you can even add more detailed notes about an event.


Of course, there are in app purchases that can be made to create videos from the daily photos or a creative pack to add designs and fonts and collages. I haven’t tried any of these features since I’d have to part with $1.99.

Collect would also be an effective way of participating in the Grateful 365 Project, a way to collect a photo and reflect on something positive every day.

Looking for a way to collect and organize your photos? Try Collect.










TBT Lesson #33

It’s that time of year again. Time for school pictures. As a teacher, I must admit picture day was one of my LEAST favorite days of the school year.

You’d think with all of the students dressed to impress, their behavior would be stellar on picture day…not so! Instead, the day brings out the worst in them. Girls spinning around so their dresses poof. Boys borrowing mirrors from the girls so they can check their hair. Everyone concerned about when the pictures will be taken.

“I don’t want to go to PE before pictures.”

“What if I spill something on my shirt during lunch?”

“If they don’t take my picture soon, my hair’s going to be a mess.” (This from both girls and boys in recent years!)

Then of course the picture line is the worst part of the day. Students are so excited they’re jumping around trying to watch their classmates as they pose for the photographer with combs in hand to do all the last minute preening.

I think this explains why most teachers pictured in the yearbook or in class pictures look like they’ve just gotten over a bout with the flu. They’re suffering from school picture syndrome.

Same hair style, just a different color.

Even with all the pictures taken today, school pictures are still needed. We all need some actual physical, printed pictures instead of just images on our cameras. And children still enjoy sharing and trading pictures with classmates. I guess the teacher stress caused on picture day is worth it.

TBT Lesson #33: Buy school pictures.

Christmas Photo Fun

The Christmas of 2011, the first after Meghan and Jon married, we set up our a crazy holiday photo booth and took our first family photo with our new son-in-law.

ChristmasFamily photoThe photo booth turned out to be a great way to get everyone in the picture taking mood. Great couples photos…

Glasses, hats, headbands, mustaches, and toy weapons…

Even a couple of serious family photos…

xmas115Grandma and Grandpa with their Ocala grandchildren…

xmas112It’s almost time for some more family photo fun!

Advent Photo Challenge

I’m always looking for another photo challenge, and I’m excited that Ocala First United Methodist Church has developed an Advent photo challenge which begins next Sunday, November 30th.

A grown-up version of an Advent calendar, the goal is for this to be a different way to meditate into this season by participating in the Advent Photo-a-day on Instagram @ocalafirstumc.

  • Step 1 Follow Ocala First United Methodist Church on Instagram @ocalafirstumc
  • Step 2 Copy the list of words and start thinking about images that could illustrate each word
  • Step 3 Take pictures and post on Instagram using #OcalaLight
  • Step 4 Check out the photos posted and LIKE and/or COMMENT
  • Step 5 Invite others to participate


This year’s theme is “Advent 2014: the light shines in the darkness” (John 1:1-14)

We’re celebrating (remembering) that Christ came into this world. God, the light, the Word, the life came into the brokenness (the darkness) of our world—in order to redeem and heal and save it. The season of Advent reminds us to look for light in those dark places, but it also gives us the courage to look into those dark places, knowing that Christ has come and is coming again. Advent calls us to confront our darkness (and the world’s darkness) and wait for—look for, prepare for—Christ.

Remember, this isn’t an all or nothing proposition. If you miss a day, that’s ok. Post later or skip a day and post the next. And if taking photos isn’t your thing, check out the photos posted by others.

I’m getting ready for the Advent Photo Challenge! (And follow me on Instagram @mcdeea)

Having trouble reading the words in the graphic above? Here’s another, easy to read list.
Nov 30: Advent (Coming)
Dec 1: Darkness
Dec 2: Awake
Dec 3: Promise
Dec 4: Anticipate/Await
Dec 5: Hope
Dec 6: Peace
Dec 7: Beginning
Dec 8: The Word.
Dec 9: Spirit
Dec 10: Light
Dec 11: People
Dec 12: Joy
Dec 13: Good News
Dec 14: Witness
Dec 15: Preparation
Dec 16: Path/Way
Dec 17: Holy
Dec 18: Ordinary
Dec 19: Love
Dec 20: Blessed
Dec 21: Believe
Dec 22: Neighborhood
Dec 23: Welcome
Dec 24: Glory
Dec 25: Rejoice! Celebrate!


Create a Floridagram

So what’s a Floridagram? A professionally narrated story added to your Florida photos that can be emailed to friends or family.

It’s easy to create a 15 second slide show in just three steps:

  1. Upload 3 – 5 photos.
  2. Choose from one of ten prerecorded narrations.
  3. Email your creation to yourself and then share it with others on Facebook, Twitter, by email, or by using the link provided.

With titles like Beach Days, Nature, Princess Makeover, and Road Trip, it’s not difficult to find one that matches your pictures. And for me, the most difficult part: choosing only 5 pictures!

Click here to see my Floridagram and if you create one of your own, share it with me by including the link in the comments section below.


Enter a Photo Contest

Enjoy visiting Florida’s state parks? Enjoy taking pictures during these visits? Then you may want to enter the 2014 Florida State Parks and State Trails Photo Contest.

Big Talbot Island State Park

The process is pretty simple: register for a photographer id number, and then submit up to 10 photographs each month with accompanying release forms. Each month photos selected by a panel of Florida Department of Environmental Protection are posted on the Florida State Park website for online voting. Winners are determined by the total number of votes received in the online poll.

Winners of the monthly contests are entered into the annual contest which is judged by professional photographers and  receive park passes. The photographs may be used in state park publications or on their website.

I’ll keep visiting the parks and taking photos and maybe I’ll get lucky and capture an image worthy of entry in the 2014 Florida State Parks and State Trails Photo Contest.

TBT: Lesson #2

Another crazy picture, this one from the ’70s. Another lesson.

ponyTBT: Lesson #2:

When your knees touch the ground, you’re too big to ride that pony!

What’s amazing about this photo is that John had a horse and even taught horseback riding yet he’s riding this pony that’s way too small. In his defense, children should not really ride ponies either. Ponies are generally not pleasant creatures, and this one fit the pony stereotype…difficult to ride with an unpleasant disposition. Nevertheless, he should not have ridden this creature.

Throwback Thursday’s been a trend on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for a couple of years now – the posting of old photos inspired the idea of changing up Throwback Thursday (TBT) by including a lesson that we should learn from these pictures from the past.

May Photo Challenge

In February I wrote about the 365 Grateful Project with a goal of taking one picture every day of something for which you’re thankful. I’ve taken at least one picture on most days, but I haven’t always organized them in such a way that they can be shared or are easily accessible. I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed the “Grateful Daily May Photo Challenge” started by Shipra Panosian Photographya friend of Emily’s.

The May Photo Challenge provides a list of topics for daily photos to be posted on Instagram. The guidelines for the challenge are pretty simple:

Starting a Grateful Daily photo challenge with some friends and we’d love for you to join in. Guidelines: 1. Follow the daily prompt and use the hashtag #grateful_daily. The hashtag is to remind us to live out what the Bible teaches… ‘In everything give thanks’ and to be grateful for the beauty in our everyday lives. 2. Camera phone images only! Images don’t have to be taken that day but must be posted on prompt day.

On May 14th, Emily shared the following for the prompt “reflection”.

Day 14: #reflection – Today is a special day for me, and there couldn’t be a more perfect focus for today’s challenge. Today is my birthday, and it’s quite humbling to take a moment and reflect on the blessings, experiences, struggles, and celebrations of this past year. I am so grateful for this life I lead. I launched my Etsy shop, I got married, switched job titles, celebrated birthdays, dealt with illnesses of those we love, found peace and frustration in owning our home, made new friends, and let go of so many strongholds. So grateful for this chance to reflect and can’t wait to celebrate tonight and this weekend with those that love me so much. #grateful_daily #day14 #birthday #publixcakesareugly #impromptuphotoshoot

emilybirthdayThe 31 topics provide variety:

  1. gift
  2. color
  3. morning
  4. mood
  5. shadow
  6. soft
  7. sky
  8. hobby
  9. close-up
  10. key
  11. motherhood
  12. hands
  13. happy
  14. reflection
  15. b & w
  16. lines
  17. vegetable
  18. wide-angle
  19. hard light
  20. grateful
  21. writing
  22. blue
  23. calm
  24. sunlight
  25. hidden
  26. jewelry
  27. homemade
  28. abstract
  29. texture
  30. hair
  31. frame

I jumped in the May Photo Challenge a little late with my first post on the 15th. I’m sure the thought behind the prompt b & w was to post a black and white picture, but that wasn’t what was on my mind.

Day 15 #blackandwhite #grateful_daily A different take on black & white. What’s better than a black and white shake at a Canes game?


And on Day 17 I posted,

Vegetables as decor on our table at Yardbird. Another great place to eat in Miami. #day17 #vegetable #grateful_daily #yardbird


It’s not too late to join that May Photo Challenge. Look for us on Instagram @mcdeea, @emilygracedesign, and @shiprapanosianphotography. And even if you don’t join the challenge, check out the photos of those participating. There are some incredibly talented photographers posting pictures daily, worth following.

I hope the photo challenge will continue beyond May. What a great way to focus on being grateful daily!


TBT: Lesson #1

Throwback Thursday’s been a trend on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for a couple of years now – one that I participate in on occasion, but as I started organizing old photographs recently, John mentioned that maybe there are lessons to be learned from some of these old pictures. That inspired the idea of changing up Throwback Thursday (TBT) by including a lesson that we should learn from these pictures from the past.

So here goes, TBT: Lesson #1

Do not take a picture with a mirror as a background. What was I thinking here? A picture of the girls and their grandparents and great-grandmother sitting in front of a wall of mirrors. It’s pretty difficult to focus on the people in the picture with the reflection of the flash as well as the image of the photographer and the backs of the heads of those in the photograph reflected in the mirror.


Of course, a second question – why is there a wall lined with mirrors in this room? I don’t recognize the furniture or room and don’t remember where this picture was taken, but maybe there’s a second lesson here: mirrored walls are a decorating no no.