A Different Kind of Arrangement

A Different Kind of Arrangement


It all started with this spring flower arrangement.


It really started with the tulips.

They are always calling my name at Walmart.

I try to look away.  I try not to listen.  I try to push on by and head for the frozen broccoli.  But somehow, someway, those flowers end up in my cart.

I brought them home and added them to a couple of simple wire vases and arranged them in 7.24 minutes and took these pictures.  When I edited the photos, they looked fine.  Sufficient.  Ordinary.  Usual.

They looked like this photo above.

But I wanted more.

I wanted the flowers to truly stand out.  I wanted the brilliant colors of the flowers to shine.  I wanted the flowers to be the star of the show.

So I researched and looked and searched and read….

….and discovered this super cool photo editing technique.Continue reading

Christmas Decor, a New Lens and the Mannequin Challenge

Christmas Decor, a New Lens and the Mannequin Challenge


Have you seen the mannequin challenge, yet?

You know.

The one where someone yells freeze and everyone holds their place and no one moves and every single person in the scene stays exactly where they are.

Just like mannequins.

There are scenes of restaurant mannequins and basketball game mannequins and party going mannequins…

…and even Santa scene mannequins.

But around here?

We’re a little different.  We have house mannequins instead.Continue reading

Seven Tips To Help You Take the Best Pictures Ever

Seven Tips To Help You Take the Best Pictures Ever


Sometimes a morning just makes you happy to be alive.

Two mornings ago this was my view.

I had gotten the family off for the day and I was doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen and wiping up crumbs and picking up water bottles and scraping corn flakes off the floor…

….and I looked out the window and saw the leaves dancing.

And then I saw this.

Continue reading

Five Tips for Sharper Photos

Five Tips for Sharper Photos

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


When I started this whole blog thing I had a camera that you throw away before I ever knew about five tips for sharper photos.

You know.

The kind that was yellow and you took all the pictures and turned the little dial at the top manually and when you got to 25 you took it to Walgreen’s.

And two days later (or an afternoon if they were having a special) they gave you your pictures back.

I occasionally took some pictures of my family at an event with awards or holidays that rhymed with mistmas…..

….but I never, ever took any pictures of my house.

Until I started a blog.

And now, four and a half years later I’ve learned a little about pictures and taking them and lighting and sharpening and just in case you were graduating from yellow camera school, I thought I’d share them with you.

Here are five tips for sharper photos.

The Best Camera Lens for Interior Room Photography

The Best Camera Lens for Interior Room Photography

family room pillow

Have you ever noticed when I post house photographs on the blog, you kind of see half a room.

Like this photograph.

You see half the built-in’s and one of the chairs and one side of the bookcases and half the window seat.


Are you drinking coffee and sighing at me and saying your half a room looks fine, but what’s across from the couch and what does the entire built-in look like and I really like that pom pom pillow….

….but what about the rest of the space.

I know.  I hear you.  I get it.

But until Saturday, I didn’t have the right camera equipment to take an entire room photo.  I tried.  I really, really did.  I would back all the way into other rooms and stand on chairs and climb up a ladder to try to take a photograph of then entire space.  And sometimes I almost got it.  But between us, it never really worked.

Until now.

Meet my new camera lens.Continue reading

Have You Ever Used a Photography Umbrella?

Have You Ever Used a Photography Umbrella?

Photography Tip

Today is fancy day at Thistlewood Farms because….

…..we got photography umbrellas in the mail.

Have you ever used a photography umbrella before?

Oh good.

Me, either.

I’ve seen them before on other websites and I’ve noticed other bloggers using them but I was always skeptical.  Could a simple umbrella that aims light into a space and allows you to photograph a space without natural light really be that helpful?

And the answer?

A resounding all capital, fifty exclamation point YES!!!!Continue reading

11 Amazing Photo Styling Tips

11 Amazing Photo Styling Tips


nectarine tart open table

I have always been a little in awe of my friend, Lisa.

She writes a blog with the most amazing photographs.

Not like a little amazing….like the kind of amazing where you study her photos and think to yourself, why didn’t I stack the plates on a cutting board and add a kind of fuzzy bottle of milk and finish off the scene with sprinkles?


Well…..today Lisa is going to tell us all about the why and the how and behind the scenes of brilliant photo styling.  It’s just like a mini class with beautiful pictures.  She’s going to share her top 11 tips for getting photos to look like the one I just posted above.

And one more thing.  As you read the tips…you might notice the occasional aside in parenthesis.

That’s me.

And my two cents.

We can’t miss a blog post.  🙂

Take it away, Lisa.Continue reading

5 Tips for Taking Pictures During the Golden Hour

5 Tips for Taking Pictures During the Golden Hour


photography tips the golden hour

There’s a term in photography called the golden hour.

It’s the first hour of the day while the sun is rising and the last hour of the day while the sun is setting.

The world is bathed in a golden glow and all around you are sparkles of light.

And the best part?

Even without a fancy camera or a lot of photography knowledge or even just simply using your phone….

….you can take pictures that look like a camera crew came to your house and styled an entire photo shoot for you.

Here’s five tips for taking pictures during the golden hour.

photography tips

1.  Figure out what time the golden hour is where you live

It’s easier than you think.

You can use this site or I also found this app.

But truth?

I didn’t use either one.  I just woke up and looked out my window and saw the glow and grabbed my camera and started taking pictures on the farm.

Sometimes the best way to find the golden hour is just to watch.

the golden hour photography tips with the farm

2.  Take advantage of shadows

When the sun is low in the horizon, the shadows can make even the ordinary extraordinary.

This is the bridge near the entrance to the farm.

See how the shadows make a simple stone bridge look like a piece of art.

golden hour photo ideas

the golden hour photo tips

3.  Use the light to frame ordinary objects

This is a branch silhouetted against the sky.

I simply focused on the branch and used the warm sunlight and golden glow as a backdrop.

So much bokeh….so little time.

tips for taking pictures during the golden hour

photo tips

4.  Wait

Sometimes for a picture all you need is timing.  For example, when I first took this picture….I took it without the sun.

A little boring.

Then I waited.

I waited for the sun to peep out from behind the clouds and create a spotlight for just a moment.

Perfect, beautiful golden hour.

the golden hour photography tips

5.  Enjoy the moment

I know it’s silly.

I get it.  But taking pictures when you are singing to Colbie Caillet at the top of your lungs on a farm with the golden hour swirling around you?


And so I’m going all CBS Sunday Morning on you and leave you with these golden hour pictures and the words of the song of the month here at Thistlewood….click here if you want to sing along.

And just in case no one mentioned yet today….let me be the first.

You are a rock star.

You don’t have to try so hard

You don’t have to give it all away

You just have to get up, get up, get up

You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try

You don’t have to try, try, try

You don’t have to try, try, try

You don’t have to try

Take your make-up off

Let your hair down

Take a breath

Look into the mirror at yourself

Don’t like you?

Cause I like you