Bella Grace: Joy of Everyday Photography

Have you heard about Stampington & Company’s latest publication, Bella Grace? It’s a treasure, that looks and feels more like a book than a magazine, and is overflowing with inspiring articles and beautiful images that celebrate the magic and beauty to be found within simple, everyday life. I am honored to have my article Living Your Best Life at Any Age included in this premiere issue. To launch Bella Grace, Stampington set up a blog hop as a way to introduce you to the flavor and content of the publication, feature some of the artists in the premiere issue, and give you chances to win a free copy of the issue!

How to win a free copy of the premiere issue of Bella Grace (We have a winner selected by random drawing — Anneke Van Couvering! Congratulations Anneke! Thank you to all who entered. I enjoyed your inspiring comments immensely!)

You can enter to win a free copy of the premiere issue of Bella Grace right here on this blog by leaving a comment for this post by Wednesday, August 27th. at 11:59 EST. I’ll announce the winner (selected by random drawing) on Thursday, August 28th. If you are moved to do so, please comment on what simple, everyday moments bring you joy.

Bella Grace Vol. 1

Where can I read more posts from the blog hop?

Find links to other blog hop posts at the bottom of Stampington’s blog hop post. They’ll be updating the page regularly, so you can visit other artists’ inspirational posts and receive more chances to win a free copy of Bella Grace.

In honor of the release of Bella Grace, I pen this post, Joy of Everyday Photography, a Bella Grace-inspired piece that will encourage you to notice, embrace and celebrate the simple, everyday magical moments that make life special…


Before you go to bed, place your camera next to you on the bedside table. It doesn’t matter if it’s a DSLR, iPhone or point-and-shoot. When you rise in the first light of morning, take a photograph of what you see — your first impression of the day. Carry your camera as you move through your day, snapping photos of things that catch your eye, things you wish to visually study, and of course moments that get you in the gut. Follow your heart and don’t worry too much about camera settings for this exercise. All good things require time and practice, and as you engage in taking snapshots of the moments of your life, a transformation will take place.

You will begin to notice that…

This practice will train your eye (your heart really) to notice the finer details around you, which wakes you up inside, and makes you feel more alive! You will go into what I like to call ‘seek mode,’ searching for those magnificent details which can often go unnoticed. Over time, this in turn will bring even more beauty into your life. You will begin to see your ordinary life and surroundings in a whole new way. A new light! — that sparkles, shines and ignites true joy within you.

Not only will you receive the gift of being able to tap into your inner joy, you might also notice that the act of photographing your world can ‘get you out of your own head.’ It’s like a form of meditation really.

Tips and Ideas for Photographing the Beauty of  Your Everyday Life…

  1. Shoot from various vantage points and angles — from above, looking up, at a diagonal, get down on your belly, get close, get closer still if your lens’s minimum focusing distance will allow it.
  2. Play with the light. Golden hour natural light (roughly one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset) is ideal, as it’s soft and diffuse and is most flattering to subjects. Light comes from different directions, which each produce a unique effect. Front lighting occurs when the sun is low in the sky, casting soft, even light on your subject(s). Take advantage of backlighting which also occurs when the sun is low in the sky and hits your subject from behind. This type of light creates a glowing halo effect around your subject, especially if you are exposing off of your subject. If you expose off of the sky around the subject, you’ll achieve a beautiful silhouette effect. Side lighting hits your subject from the side and makes for a dramatic photograph. The light will be brightest where it hits the subject, and then it will recede into shadow. Top lighting can be unflattering, as it occurs when the sun is high in the sky (noontime sun is an example). It casts shadows on the subject, and if that subject is a person it will cast dark shadows under the eyes, not to mention your subject will most likely be squinting. Head to the edge of shade when top lighting is bright. If the top light is overcast, this could work well, as the thick blanket of clouds will act like one big reflector. This type of light is great for photographing your flower gardens. If shooting indoors, try to take advantage of natural light. It’s preferable to shoot near a north-facing window.
  3. Photograph collections of things, whether they be your favorite collection of river stones, a set of antique glass bottles, sea glass, flora from a hike in the woods, fallen autumnal leaves, driftwood, vintage books, paintbrushes, paints, crystals; the possibilities are endless. You can photograph natural items in their native environments, or place any of your collections on a clean sweep (like a swatch of linen or a weathered board) near a north-facing window.
  4. Shoot things that bring you comfort — perhaps a steaming mug of tea (backlighting works well for this type of shot, as it will illuminate the steam, making it very visible), collection of linen blankets, a stack of sweaters, balls of yarn in a basket with your favorite knitting needles resting atop them, candles, homemade scented soaps, your leisurely Sunday breakfast.
  5. Everyday acts make for moving shots. I especially enjoy photographing my children while they play. It’s also fun to photograph family and friends cooking, baking, gardening, engaging in recreation and dining. Elevate your errands to art (photograph produce at the market for instance), photograph a family member stacking wood or painting the house, even mowing the lawn; whatever the everyday acts around your home and in your community happen to be.
  6. Photographing body parts make for unique portraits. Photograph the eyes (or one eye), perhaps an arm with an interesting tattoo, a hand holding an apple, a face peeking out from behind a blossoming tree, etc. Tip: When composing these types of shots or cropping them in the post-editing stage, be sure not to crop right at a joint.
  7. Shoot color! This can be especially refreshing if you live in a colder climate like I do in Maine. Winters are long and come February I am color-thirsty. That’s when I like to paint on fruity nail polish, wear bright colors, play with paints, and bite into citrusy fruits. These all make for wonderful subjects full of juicy color!
  8. Create a collage of some of your favorite ‘everyday’ photography (as I did in this post). (a free photo-editing service) has a stellar collage feature than you can find in its Express Editor.

***And I couldn’t let this post go by without mentioning that my brand new book, Art of Everyday Photography: Move Toward Manual & Make Creative Photos, will soon be released. You can pre-order it on Amazon!***